Humanity, the Bahá’í writings explain, has passed through the stage of childhood and now stands at the threshold of its collective maturity. The revolutionary and far-reaching changes occurring today are characteristic of this period of transition—a time which can be likened to adolescence. In this period, thoughts, attitudes, and habits from humanity’s earlier stages of development are being swept away and new patterns of thought and action which reflect its approaching maturity are gradually taking root. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains: “That which was applicable to human needs during the early history of the race can neither meet nor satisfy the demands of this day, this period of newness and consummation.” He continues: “Man must now become imbued with new virtues and powers, new moral standards, new capacities…The gifts and blessings of the period of youth, although timely and sufficient during the adolescence of mankind, are now incapable of meeting the requirements of its maturity.”
The hallmark of this approaching age of maturity is the unification of the human race. Shoghi Effendi writes that, while unity “of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established” world-encompassing unity is “the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving.” In another passage, he refers to “the inauguration of a world civilization such as no mortal eye hath ever beheld or human mind conceived.” He asks: “Who is it that can imagine the lofty standard which such a civilization, as it unfolds itself, is destined to attain? Who can measure the heights to which human intelligence, liberated from its shackles, will soar? Who can visualize the realms which the human spirit, vitalized by the outpouring light of Bahá’u’lláh, shining in the plenitude of its glory, will discover?”
The emergence of a global civilization prosperous in both its material and spiritual dimensions implies that the spiritual and practical aspects of life are to advance together. Through faith and reason, it becomes possible to discover the powers and capacities latent in individuals and in humanity as a whole, and to work for the realization of these potentialities. Recognition of the fundamental harmony of science and religion also allows for the generation, application, and diffusion of spiritual and material knowledge among all the world’s inhabitants.
“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”
This collection of pages further explores aspects of the advancement of civilization.